Indian Bridal Hair & Makeup

Written by shanti hitton
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Indian Bridal Hair & Makeup
Indian weddings are elaborate and traditional. (Image by, courtesy of sanyam sharma)

An Indian wedding is rich in traditions, which stem both from the Hindu religion and regional ethnic customs. Most central in all of it is the figure of the Indian bride, who wears an elaborate hairstyle and is made up in traditional ways.

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Significance of Mehndi

The most distinctive element of bridal preparation is "mehndi," a temporary henna tattoo that is applied all over the hands and feet of the bride. The "mehndi party" takes place a day before the wedding, where the bride's female relatives attend and apply mehndi as well.

Henna tattoos are applied before the wedding.
Henna tattoos are applied before the wedding. (Image by, courtesy of Ted Ollikkala)

Makeup Features

The Old World style of makeup includes a red or bronze tone on the face and a red jewel or "bindi" on the forehead. Bengali brides wear designs on their forehead applied with sandalwood paste. Black kohl eyeliner is traditionally used.

Indian Bridal Hair & Makeup
Old World makeup includes bindi. (Image by, courtesy of Prakhar Amba)


On the day of the wedding, the bride, along with the groom, is anointed with turmeric all over her face and arms. This is done to ensure that the marriage will be full of good fortune, fertility and prosperity.

Indian Bridal Hair & Makeup
Turmeric ensures good fortune. (Image by, courtesy of Kevin Dooley)

Hair Features

The traditional hairstyle is an updo or a half-updo, and according to the Ramayana, "jeweled butterflies and other ornaments adorn [the bride's] lustrous black hair," which is covered by a veil or "cheli." A Bengali bride wears a crown known as a sholar mukat, which is carved out of the bark of a tree.

Brides wear long veils or crowns.
Brides wear long veils or crowns. (Image by, courtesy of Mikul)

Fun Fact

Bridal accessories are gold bracelets and anklets, jeweled earrings and even the traditional nath, a pearl-crusted nose ring.

Indian Bridal Hair & Makeup
Elaborate jewelry is common. (Image by, courtesy of Ted Ollikkala)

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